A Buddha statue at Sunrise at Wat Mahathat at Sukhothai Historical Park
On my way down to the Gulf of Thailand to do some scuba diving, I stopped off at Sukhothai to see the 13th-century ruins of the Sukhothai kingdom. Somewhat similar to Angkor Wat, but much smaller, the ruins are easily accessible by bicycle and entrance costs just a few dollars. Sunrise at the temples was particularly striking and worth waking up early for.
In addition to the temples, I had a lovely time staying at Sila Resort, a nice hostel in New Sukhothai. I’d highly recommend it!
The ruins of Banteay Srei in the Angkor Archaeological Park complex
On my second day visiting the Angkor Archaeological Park, I biked all the way from my hostel in Siem Reap to the ruins of Banteay Srei, nearly 40 km outside of town. It was New Year’s Eve and honestly it was the best way I could have finished out 2013, a year filled with adventures, learning, and growth.
The ruins of Banteay Srei are small but impressive with their well preserved and highly intricate carvings. Built in the 10th century, the ruins pre-date Angkor Wat by about 200 years and it’s believed the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
The Yank without a Chain in Angkor Wat
The highlight of my time in Cambodia was definitely Siem Reap and riding a bicycle around the Angkor Archaeological Park. I got the three day pass for $40, thinking that would allow me ample time to see pretty much everything. The park was much, much larger than I anticipated and in actuality I only scratched the surface!
My first day I visited the two major sites, Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, as well as smaller sites like Phnom Bakheng for sunset and Baksei Chamkrong which lies between Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. It was difficult getting good photos because of the sheer number of other tourists who were trying to get the same photos at the same time, but I did manage to capture some of the details of the places. Once you can ignore the pushiness of both fellow tourists and locals, it’s truly magical to bring yourself back in time over 800 years to think about how these ancient royals lived.